IOP grants aim to boost research into pedagogy in higher education

26 May 2015

A grant scheme to stimulate research into university-level physics education has been launched by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Sphere

The IOP is providing three grants of up to £10,000 each to help meet the costs of preparing and submitting a bid for funding in this area, where the lack of a clear funding route seems to have deterred applications up until now.

There is a vicious circle where none of the research councils has such research as a specific part of its remit, so potential applicants are put off from investing time and money in making a bid, the IOP believes. This in turn means that the research councils may conclude that there is no demand for such research funding.

The IOP’s education adviser, Professor Peter Main, said: “In order to move forward on this issue, the Institute is trying to engage with the research councils to find a funding stream. But potential applicants for such funding do not see a plausible route and are not prepared to invest time and energy in creating a proposal with little prospect of submission, let alone success. It is the purpose of this project to try to break the deadlock.

“Subject-based education research at the university level operates on a very small scale and we know very little about how students learn and what the barriers are to understanding and effective learning.”

In its five-year strategy, published in February, the IOP says it aspires to “be recognised for having fostered an environment where research into pedagogy in further and higher education can thrive”.

Researchers, research groups or consortia of research groups are eligible for the grants, and possible items that can be funded include travel costs, and cover costs for teaching and preliminary investigations. The closing date for applications is 30 October 2015.

If you would like find out more, or apply to the grant scheme, please email sphere@iop.org.